Colorful summer drinks help you keep your cool

Berry lemonade, wine spritzer let you chill in style

August 04, 2002|By Betty Rosbottom | By Betty Rosbottom,Special to the Sun

Many friends come to visit us in late summer, a time when the temperatures often soar into the 90s in New England. When this type of heat coincides with such visits, I have learned to lighten my menus, because hot weather diminishes appetites.

Between meals, however, I have noticed that taking time to relax and sip an icy-cold drink is a welcoming respite for guests, and a good way to restore appetites.

Over the years I have collected a small repertoire of summer beverages for such occasions and this season have added two new creations to my list -- raspberry lemonade and grapefruit and red wine spritzers. Both can be made ahead and kept chilled so that they are ready whenever you might want to stop for a break.

I discovered the raspberry lemonade one hot summer day while having lunch at the restaurant in Boston's Museum of Fine Arts. To quench my thirst, I ordered the unusual lemonade, expecting that it would be made from commercial concentrates.

Much to my surprise, the delectable creation turned out to be prepared with all fresh ingredients.

I liked this crimson-hued beverage so much that I asked the waitress for the recipe, and she willingly got the directions for me.

Made by blending fresh raspberries with sugar syrup and lemon juice, the lemonade takes only minutes to assemble and makes an inviting sight when served in tall glasses garnished with lemon slices.

The grapefruit and red wine spritzers are my own creation and call for just four ingredients. Grapefruit juice and sugar are heated until the latter has dissolved, then red wine and sparkling water are stirred in. The spritzers are attractive served in ice-filled wine glasses and garnished with twists of grapefruit peel.

Distributed by the Los Angeles Times Syndicate International, a division of Tribune Media Services.

Raspberry Lemonade

Makes 6 servings

8 lemons

2 1/2 cups water

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries, rinsed and patted dry, plus 6 raspberries for garnish, optional

Juice enough of the lemons to yield 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of strained lemon juice. Save extra lemons for seasoning lemonade with additional lemon juice, if desired, and for garnish.

Place the water and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat.

Stir until the sugar has dissolved, and cook 5 minutes. Remove and stir in raspberries. Place in a food processor or blender and process until raspberries are completely pureed into the liquid. (Do not worry about straining this mixture to remove seeds.) Remove and stir in the lemon juice.

Taste and, if you want more tartness, add up to a tablespoon of additional lemon juice. Transfer to a nonreactive pitcher and cover and refrigerate until chilled. (Lemonade can be made a day ahead; keep refrigerated.)

To serve, fill 6 (8-ounce) glasses with ice and pour in lemonade. Slice a remaining lemon into 6 thin rounds. Slit each round halfway through and slip onto the rim of a glass. If desired, float a raspberry in each glass.

Grapefruit and Red Wine Spritzers

Makes 6 servings

1 1/3 cups pink grapefruit juice, either fresh or purchased, but not from concentrate (see Note)

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup dry red wine

1 cup sparkling water (such as Perrier)

6 grapefruit-peel strips (about 3-by- 1/2 -inch) for garnish, optional

Combine grapefruit juice and sugar in a medium nonreactive saucepan over medium heat, and stir until sugar has dissolved, a minute or two. Remove from heat and stir in wine and sparkling water.

If not using immediately, cover and refrigerate to chill. (Spritzers can be prepared 5 hours ahead; keep refrigerated until needed.)

Fill 6 medium wine glasses with ice and fill each with some of the grapefruit spritzer mixture. If desired, garnish each serving with a twist of grapefruit peel.

Note: Tropicana Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice works well in this recipe.

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